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Without looking at the title of the blog post, who can guess what’s important about today?

I’ll give you a clue, in the form of the ABC TV Guide for today:

3:00 – New Zealand Dawn Service
4:00 – Sydney Dawn Service
5:00 – Canberra Dawn Service
5:30 – ABC New Breakfast ANZAC Day Special
8:30 – ABC News ANZAC Day Special
9:00 – ANZAC Day March Adelaide
12:30 – Gallipoli Dawn Service
1:30 – Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service
2:30 – Australia Remembers: Gallipoli 100
4:30 – Gallipoli from Above: The Untold Story
5:20 – The Governor-General’s ANZAC Day Address
5:30 – Lone Pine Memorial Service
6:30 – Gardening Australia

If you still haven’t got it, it’s ANZAC Day. There has been a lot of ANZAC stuff around lately – it seems we’ve been more concerned with 100 Years Since Gallipoli than we were last year with 100 Year Since The Beginning Of WW1 – and we (or, at least, the media), seemed pretty concerned with that last year.

My sister says she’s sick of all the ANZAC stuff, every time we turn on the TV for the last few weeks, but to be honest, I don’t mind it – as long as it’s tastefully done. I was in K-Mart the other weeks, and they had posters up saying things like “Celebrating 100 Years of ANZAC Spirit” and “Join Us In A Night of Entertainment and Remembrance”.

That, in my opinion, is taking it too far. It’s just in poor taste. 5000 people died or were wounded during the initial landing at ANZAC Cove one hundred years ago (ANZACs and Turks alike) and to turn it into a “Celebration” and a “Night of Entertainment” is frankly disgusting.

My father observed this morning, after the Dawn Service, that for all Australians don’t care much about Australia Day, formalities, or patriotism, ANZAC Day is the one thing we hold sacred. You don’t mess with ANZAC Day. Full stop. The end.

For those non-Australia-New-Zealand people reading (does anyone read my blog not from Australia?), ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the landing at what is now called Anzac Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany, and the objective was to capture Istanbul (then known as Constantinople). That never happened, but in December 1915, after eight months, the ANZACs withdrew, but not before forty thousand casualties on both sides.

There had been a miscommunication of some sort, and the Australia New Zealand Army Corps landed one mile north of where they were meant to, at a beach with steep cliffs, where they got confused and died in vast numbers. It’s amazing to think that 100 years ago, that sort of thing was happening, and today, we can stream the Dawn Service live from Gallipoli to our televisions.

But it seems that Australia and New Zealand have a fairly good relationship with Turkey; whether as a direct result of the whole Gallipoli campaign, I don’t know. I do know, however, that prisoners of war in Turkey in WW1 were treated remarkably well. They were set to hard work, of course, mostly building the train line from Berlin to Istanbul, but they were given nice accommodation, enough food, and the spare time to place cricket games.

We went this morning to the Dawn Service in the next town. We don’t normally go to the Dawn Service (my sister, as a Scout/Venturer, has for quite a few years, and she’ll be marching in the aforementioned parade later), but since this is the centenary, decided we’d regret it if we didn’t go. I was amazed at how many people were there! There must have been more than a thousand – I’m sure just about everyone in the Stirling, Aldgate and Districts area went.

After hearing rumours of a nationwide bugler shortage, I was pleased to hear the Last Post actually played on a bugle, rather than on pipes as I feared might happen – on Remembrance Day, the Last Post is very often played by a piper instead of a bugler. But in all, the Dawn Service went quite well – even if the enthusiasm in singing God Defend New Zealand was in stark contrast to Advance Australia Fair. I think I was the only one (not part of the combined primary schools choir) singing.

I’ll leave you today with the recipe for ANZAC Biscuits – and a dire warning not to refer to them as “ANZAC Cookies”!!

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2tbsp golden syrup
1tsp bi-carb soda
2tbsp boiling water

1 – Combined oats, flour, sugar, and coconut.
2 – Combined butter and golden syrup and stir over a gentle heat until melted.
3 – Mix bi-carb soda with boiling water and add to melted butter mixture.
4 – Stir into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5 – Place teaspoonfuls of the batter onto lightly-greased oven trays, leaving about 5cm in between to allow for spreading.
6 – Cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes (or until golden-brown.

9 Ways in which Hebrew is exactly like Gaelic

FlagOkay, this is a bit of a silly title. I had people tell me, “Don’t try listing all the ways languages are alike; you’ll get bogged down and won’t actually learn the language”. But the truth is, I didn’t set out to make this list.

I won’t do a list like “1001 ways in which Greek is exactly like German”, because that would be basically my entire textbook thus far. I wrote down these notes about Hebrew because the similarities surprised me. I’d expect similarities between Greek and German because they’re reasonably closely-related. They have familiar things like cases, and prepositions which mean slightly different things depending on the case of the following word.

But I wasn’t expecting many similarities between Hebrew and Gaelic, because they are very different languages. They come from different parts of the world. They look very different. At yet, I kept tripping across similarities. So, here they are, in the order I encountered them.

Nouns have singular, dual, and plural forms. These are the only two languages I’ve learnt which have dual forms of nouns, although I’m aware that Cornish, for example, has also. That isn’t to say I’ve actually learnt the dual forms for Gaelic at all.

There is no indefinite article. This isn’t terribly unusual; Greek doesn’t have an indefinite article either. For those who don’t know, in English, the definite article is the, while the indefinite article is a/n. But also, there is only one definite article. By this, I mean that the definite article doesn’t change based on case, number, and gender, as it does in German, Greek, and French. In Gaelic, the article is an, which can mutate to am or a’, depending on the sound which follows immediately after. In Hebrew, the article is הַ (ha), which can mutate to הָ (hā) or הֶ (he), depending on the sound which follows immediately after.

The verb comes first (VSO). Again, this isn’t anything particularly unusual, as there are a number of VSO languages out there. However, in English, the standard form is SVO (subject-verb-object), and this is the form used in French, German, Spanish, Greek, and other European languages except the Celtic ones.

There are different rules for labial consonants. This is pretty universal, again, because it’s easier to pronounce labial consonants if you have slightly different rules for them. However, saying “imprecise” rather than “inprecise” is so natural for English- (and French-, and Spanish-) speakers that we don’t think about it. Have you ever noticed that people say “Camberra” rather than “Canberra”? It’s just because it’s easier to say. However, in Gaelic and Hebrew, these changes for labial consonants (known as “Big Fat Monkey Paws” in Gaelic and “BuMP rules” in Hebrew) are taught as grammar.

Lenition of consonants. This is perhaps stretching for a similarity, but what lenition basically is is the change of a B sound to a V sound, or K to a glottal CH. In the Celtic languages, this mostly occurs at the beginning of words, following things like prepositions and possessives. In Hebrew, lenition can occur anywhere in the word, and is indicated by the use of the daghesh lene in the middle of the letter. For example,  בּ[B] rather than ב [V]. However, according to my teacher, the answer to “What does a daghesh lene do?” of “It shows whether a consonant is lenited” is not right, because “leniting” and “lenition” are not concepts used in English. I was just excited to realise that the word I learn for Gaelic looks exactly like the word “lene” used in Hebrew!

Pluralisation results in vowel changes earlier in the word. This isn’t unusual; changes to the end of the word very often result in changes earlier. For example, in English, compare the pronunciation “nation” to “national”. However, Hebrew and Gaelic take this a step further. In Gaelic, caraid (“friend”) becomes cairdean (“friends”). In Hebrew, נַעַר (na’ar, or “boy”) becomes נְעָרִים (n’āriym, or “boys”).

There are several sorts of guttural consonant sounds. Okay, this one I put in just to be perverse. I’m sick of people not pronouncing the guttural sounds. People in Greek (including the teacher) saying K rather than X. It’s not that hard a sound to make! Anyway, both Hebrew and Gaelic recognise several guttural sounds. In Hebrew, these include ה (kh, also known as the middle letter of my name) and כ (k, which, without the daghesh lene, is aspirated and rendered as kh), and ע (glottal stop). In Gaelic, these include such monster combinations as chd, dh, gh, and ch.

There is an unchanging “infinitive particle” with different positives and negatives. In Gaelic, this occurs with all verbs. However, for comparison:


Hebrew, transliteration, Gaelic, and English. “Is” in Gaelic is pronouned “ish”, and the ‘ in “‘ayin” is a glottal stop.


Prepositional pronouns. I’m using the Gaelic terminology here, because in Hebrew, they’re called “inseparable prepositions with a pronominal suffix”. Personally, I think the Gaelic term is simpler. Although the official process and terminology is different, the end result is the same: what basically amounts to a conjugated preposition. Here is another comparative chart:


Hebrew, transliteration, Gaelic, and English. I originally had “aig”, because its meaning is slightly closer to the Hebrew “le”, but there is some overlap of usage between the two “le”s, so I thought I’d use that one for fun.


You can ignore the “yez”. That’s a bit of a joke. My Greek textbook actually tells me that, since modern English doesn’t distinguish between you-singular and you-plural, and translating the singular as “thee” is a little awkward, we can translate you-plural as “y’all”. What can you expect from a textbook out of Dallas Seminary? However, not only do I not want to say “y’all” because it’s an Americanism, but it feels awkward both in my mouth and on paper, I translate as “youse” or “yez”. Now, that’s something that I normally shudder about, because it’s considered something of an uneducated thing to say in Australia, but it feels a lot more normal in my mouth that “y’all”, and my (American) lecturer finds it amusing.